Scoping out INTERPHEX - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

Scoping out INTERPHEX
Visitors will see many packaging innovations at the annual industry exhibition.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 36, Issue 4, pp. 42-48

Hallie Forcinio
Packaging technology at the INTERPHEX show, May 1–3, 2012, at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, focuses on traceability, product protection, quality control, new machines, line integration, and blister packaging.

Traceability and anticounterfeiting

We’ll be seeing more …
A distributed software and hardware solution for serialization is already in use for shipments of vials, bottles, or cartons to India, China, the United States, and Turkey. Capable of running as a full-featured, stand-alone serialization solution or for integrating directly into common enterprise resource planning systems and associated data repositories, the hardware and software has a small technology footprint in the user's data center and is flexible enough to integrate to other systems. The software can be deployed securely in the cloud and works across multiple geographic zones (Optel Vision TrackSafe, Optel Vision).

An advanced, two-dimensional barcode helps prevent counterfeiting and stores up to 703k of data, which is dramatically more than the typical 4k barcode. As a result, it is possible to encrypt information from a 2 x 2 in. color photograph. The photo also can be overprinted on the code for secondary verification. Read-only apps for Android and iPhone smartphones do not require Internet lookup or database storage. Without an Internet-accessible database, the code is virtually impossible to reverse engineer. To further discourage copying, the code print generator and reader are provided separately (HD Barcode, Complete Inspection Systems).

Quality control

VeriSym optical inspection systems from Symetix address product and quality control needs. (PHOTO IS COURTESY OF SYMETIX.)
A compact, x-ray inspection system combines computer control, low energy generation, up-shoot beam geometry, and high-performance image analysis to detect foreign objects and check package integrity with a high degree of sensitivity. As a result, the unit can detect small statistical variations in the product that signal contamination or a deviation from accepted specifications and immediately reject the compromised product. Intuitive controls and auto-learn technology make the system easy to set up and operate. Tool-less disassembly and remote diagnostics simplify changeover and troubleshooting, respectively. Since its introduction in January 2012, numerous systems have been installed on foil packaging lines to detect sub-millimeter metal contaminants. In one application, the x-ray system scans small trays of product with numerous wells and simultaneously inspects for weight and foreign objects. Dedicated output relays for foreign objects and under/over weight automatically divert off-spec products (E-Z Tec XR-Pack X-ray System, Eriez).

Optical inspection systems and size graders automate inspection tasks to reduce labor costs and protect product quality. A compact optical inspection system positions color cameras above and below the product stream to check color, size, and shape of tablets and softgel capsules. Image processing technology quickly compares each object to previously defined accept/reject standards. When a defective product or foreign object is identified, the system activates a close-coupled, high-speed ejector system to remove it from the product stream before packaging. Maximum speed is either 500,000 or 1,000,000 tablets or softgels/h. Changeover, including cleaning, takes 20 min. A touchscreen operator interface quickly recalls product settings. Product settings also can be accessed remotely via a network or the Internet (VeriSym optical inspection systems, Symetix).


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